Ford held for grand jury in babysitter's death

OTSELIC – Police investigators appeared in a packed Otselic Town Court room Wednesday evening, five minutes away from where a 12-year-old girl lost her life, to offer testimony that alcohol and drugs may have played a role in the incident.

George Ford Jr., 42, of Piscataway, N.J., has been arrested for first degree reckless endangerment following an investigation by the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office into an incident that left Shyanne A. Somers, 12, South Otselic, dead.

Assistant District Attorney Stephen Dunshee called four witnesses to the stand during the felony hearing while the defense called none.

Lt. James E. Lloyd and Detective Sgt. Richard Cobb of the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office testified at the hearing that Ford admitted consuming some beers and shots of whiskey between noon and 10:30 p.m. at a graduation party the day the accident occurred.

Sgt. Scott Burlison of the Norwich City Police Department, who was the second officer on the scene, testified the defendant’s truck and Ford himself smelled of alcohol; however the officer performed no tests at the time because the incident took place outside of the City PD’s jurisdiction. Burlison is a police officer with over 11 years experience and has been involved in over 300 DWI arrests.

Detective Sgt. Cobb also testified Ford smelled of alcohol and after returning him to the Sheriff’s station, an alcohol breath test was administered in which the defendant did test positive for alcohol, but was not intoxicated. A blood sample was also obtained from Ford, but is still being analyzed. Police investigators also testified that Ford told them he did not drink following the accident.

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